Book Review: Reign of the Fallen

fallenReign of the Fallen
by Sarah Glenn Marsh
YA Fantasy
379 pages
Published January 2018

One of my book-centered social networks, Litsy, does an occasional “24 in 48” where the goal is to spend 24 hours out of 48 hours reading. I’m almost never able to participate in these because my weekends are pretty busy – and I don’t want to ignore my husband for an entire weekend! However, he went out of town for one of the last weekends in February, and I was able to spend it doing my own personal 24 in 48. Reign of the Fallen is the first of many books I read that weekend!

Reign of the Fallen has a pretty interesting premise – there are a few different school of magic in this world, and our main character is a necromancer. (One of the side characters is a Beast Master, and another is a Healer. We also see Weather Mages.) Necromancers, far from being the mysterious evil mages we see in most fantasy, are revered and noble in this world; they bring souls back from the Deadlands, when they can, so they can continue “living” in the real world. “Living” is a loose term – they must make sure they are completely covered at all times – if a living person sees any of their flesh, they turn – immediately – into terrifying monsters that hunt and kill both the living and the Dead. And the more they kill, the more powerful they become. Thankfully, people are very, very careful, and so Shades are very rare! …..or they were. Now that someone has started to purposefully make them, shit’s hitting the fan.

Odessa and her friends – three other Necromancers, a Healer, a Beast Master, and a Princess – set out to solve this mystery and take out the shades wreaking havoc on the kingdom. Entwined in that plot is the near-breaking of Odessa’s spirit when one of her friends dies, and the recovery from that, as well as romances with people of both genders. Yay for bisexual representation! (One of her Necromancer friends is also in a homosexual relationship with the Healer, and it’s all perfectly normal. I love seeing so many fantasy YA books these days not treating that as something special or other. Yay for culture changing! Maybe someday it won’t even be so out-of-the-ordinary that I’ll feel the need to point it out!)

The book had a few technical problems – a few scenes where I was confused how a character had gotten someplace when I thought they were somewhere else, some confusion in how a scene was described – but those could be overlooked with how wonderful the rest of the book was.

The plot was wrapped up very nicely by the end of the book, so I don’t know if there will be a sequel or not, but I really enjoyed the world and would definitely read one if she writes it!

As a bonus, the author lives in Richmond, Virginia, so I’m counting this as a book by a local author for the PopSugar 2018 Challenge!

From the cover of Reign of the Fallen:

Without the dead, she’d be no one.

Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their soul from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised: the Dead must remain shrouded. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, a grotesque transformation begins, turning the Dead into terrifying, bloodthirsty Shades.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears around the kingdom. Soon, a crushing loss of one of her closest companions leaves Odessa shattered, and reveals a disturbing conspiracy in Karthia: Someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is forced to contemplate a terrifying question: What if her magic is the weapon that brings the kingdom to its knees? 

Fighting alongside her fellow mages–and a powerful girl as enthralling as she is infuriating–Odessa must untangle the gruesome plot to destroy Karthia before the Shades take everything she loves.

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